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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

pour some...

I hope you took some time out of your busy day of turkey-brining or suitcase-packing or office-clock-watching (or whatever you usually do the day before Thanksgiving) to actually watch a little of that video. Ah, the 80s. The mullets, the jeans, the men in "muscle" shirts totally devoid of muscles. It was a special time. Ahem.

But we're not here to discuss my misspent youth. We're here to discuss SUGAR.  Which is totally on topic at my house since I just made (and ate) poppin' fresh cinnamon buns at 5 am, plus put some non-sugar free pumpkin syrup in my coffee. It's almost a holiday. Shut up.  Also?  This post is illuminating to me as it has brought to my attention that I cannot spell cinnamon without help. I seriously tried three different wrong combinations of vowels before I gave up and let spellcheck do it.

So here is my question for you.  (No, it's NOT "why can I not spell simple words?" Pretty sure that's 'cause my mom smoked when she was pregnant. Or something. God.)  My question is, do YOU care how many grams of sugar a day you ingest?

Some of my friends and co-workers will scrutinize a nutrition label and accept or reject a food based on how many grams of sugar are in it.  It's totally foreign to me.  I read nutrition labels to see how much protein and/or how many calories are in something. I used to check out how many carbs, or carbs minus fiber, were in something, back when I used to care about that. But I have never counted my sugar grams. (Something I've never been crazy about??? Huh. Well, there had to be one thing.)  I don't even know what's good, bad, or mediocre when it comes to grams of sugar. How many grams of sugar are you supposed to eat if you're on the healthy eating train? Pretty sure the answer is NOT zero, because fruit.  But I see hyperventilating on the interwebs because some blogger or other dared call a recipe "healthy" when it contains xyz grams of sugar, so I know there are people who take this shit uber seriously.  I'm not sure why, but then again, I tend to reject out of hand any scientific research that suggests I should give up cookies.

Those are really good, btw.

Another thing that bewilders me is how there are people who will avoid sugar-sugar, but will substitute for it in recipes with maple syrup or agave or molasses in the name of "health."  I mean, you know I will substitute the evil splenda for sugar in recipes which I will then call "healthy" but what I really mean is low calorie and full of protein. Since I'm pretty aware that the probable cancer I'll get from the splenda twenty years from now negates any health claims.  But maple syrup/agave/molasses aren't even low calorie and I'm pretty sure they spike your blood sugar as much as sugar-sugar. So where's the healthifying?  Disclosure in the name of total transparency: I do have agave in my kitchen for making things for a couple friends who don't use artificial sweeteners but yet would feel psychologically better eating something "healthier" than sugar. I don't wanna rain on their parade even if I don't quite get the floats. (Humorous Thanksgiving analogy there? YOU be the judge.)

And to show you how hopped up on sugar I was this morning, here are some pictures of me from the mid 80s that I decided to share. Just to, y'know, illustrate the bad hair and clothes and makeup, in case you didn't watch that video I picked out just for you.  (Also probably because my mom smoked when she was pregnant) I couldn't figure out how to make my scanner work correctly. So after five tries, I gave up and took pictures of the pictures with my phone and emailed them to myself. Such a technical genius.

1.) That's my mom's navy blue pleather sofa and maroon carpet, not mine.  My taste may have been tragic, but not THAT tragic.

2.) I think these photos prove without any doubt that NO ONE in my family could ever shoot a decent picture.  Unless you consider the off-centeredness and the cutting off of half a person's head to be valid artistic choices. In which case...did you own a navy pleather sofa too?


Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

omg, i'm the worst blogger evah

Sorry, guys. Work and life in general have been kicking my butt***.  It's not even that I don't have time to write--I have weekends off (mostly) after all--it's that I don't have the mental energy to come up with either anything interesting to say or an entertaining way to present something that isn't actually interesting.  I keep thinking I'm going to have a fitness adventure and try something new, then come back to report on it, but then it's like, who am I kidding? go to gym, do same things, go to same yoga classes I know I like, rinse, repeat, blah.

I take that back.  I did go to a yoga workshop last month that was more meditation than yoga and it was very cool (though not, obviously, a "fitness adventure.")  The same weekend I did that, I also went to two other yoga classes, which is two more than I usually go to. I was kinda thinking that between the yoga, the meditation workshop, and the acupuncture--I've started back at acupuncture, have I mentioned that?--I could probably claim to be the most relaxed person in the history of relaxation. Stop laughing. Okay, if you know me, you can laugh. Briefly. But seriously, I think there's some truth in it. One of my co-workers, who is a basket case of work-related stress and anxiety, said to me (and our boss) the other night that working with me was good for her because I talk her off the ledge when she's stressing about shit that can't be controlled. I was like, oh honey, no. If I'm the least anxious person in the room, Houston, we got a problem.  But who knows? Maybe I AM the most relaxed person in the history of relaxation.

I have done one other new-ish thing over the past month. There have been several mornings where I've left work at 4:45 in the morning and it's been just so delightful outside, weather-wise, that I just couldn't bear to go to the gym and instead kept walking on by it.  And just kept walking the 3 1/2 to 4 miles to my ultimate destination where I'd get on the bus or commuter rail to my house.  There is something other-worldly and delightful about walking right through the city of Boston in that hour between 5 and 6 am and if I were not the worst blogger evah, I'd have done a whole post on it complete with pictures I took. But, y'know. And now that the polar fucking vortex is upon us, I'm not foreseeing very many more early morning walks/opportunities to take those as-yet nonexistent pictures, so that post will have to wait till spring. Or never. One of the two. I will say this, however.  If you ever have the opportunity to take a long walk or run through a city at that hour of the day, when it's still dark or just getting light and there are people around, but not too many, and traffic, but not too much, do it. It's like another world. A very pleasant, alien world.  (All the traffic lights at all the intersections on Boylston Street are flashing at that hour of the day. WHO KNEW?)

Okay, enough being positive n' shit.  On to the complaint department.  Because I would also like to update y'all on what's been pissing me off lately.

1.) Wasting food.  I threw out a whole pound of ground turkey this morning that I forgot was in my refrigerator. The sell-by date was 11/11. Oops. I am a moron. Luckily ground turkey is dirt cheap, but I am still pissed at myself.  I also threw out a tupperware full of canned pumpkin that had gone moldy the other day. I've been making that pumpkin cream cheese bake I shared the recipe for quite a bit and since it only calls for 82g of pumpkin at a whack, that means leftover canned pumpkin in a tupperware. The last time I bought canned pumpkin, the giant can of it was only like literally 20 cents more than the can that was half its size. But buying the giant can does NOT save you money when it molds before you can use half of it, Andrea you moron, you. That's my economy tip for today, kids.

2.) My own ignorance of basic knowledge. So, when I could not make the pumpkin oatmeal bake I wanted for breakfast the other day due to sad pumpkin tragedy, I was kinda stymied about what I could substitute. I gave up and just made proats. Sigh. But it made me realize I don't know enough about the chemistry of baking to just willy nilly alter recipes and I should DO something about that. Like, what is the difference between baking powder and baking soda? Don't they do the same thing? Why do you need both in the same recipe? How did someone figure out you need 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda in that recipe? What would happen if you used 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp baking powder instead?  Does anyone know of a good book (or website even) that would explain the science behind baking to me?  It might save me from eating proats. Which I am SO over.

3.) Aggressive sales people.  I was in the Nordstrom activewear department the other day, purportedly looking at North Face jackets. Purportedly, because I can't not also look at all the other workout clothes if I'm in a 20 foot radius of them. It's a sickness. So, I'm browsing the sale rack when Uber Perky 19 Year Old Salesgirl gloms onto me and helpfully explains that the rack I am looking at contains size extra small to medium, while that rack over there contains large to extra large. "Just so you know." Um, thanks? I think I could figure that out on my own?  I move onto other rack. She follows me, making a comment on everything I touch, most of them prefaced with "just so you know." Finally, I am at a rack of black winter jackets and she has to come over to point out that there are actually two different types of black down jacket on that rack.  "Yes! One has a hood and one doesn't, and one is puffier than the other!" I say totally deadpan.  She doesn't get my sarcasm.  I leave without buying anything. Un-fucking-believable.

And, now, to end on a positive note, here are a couple of things that are not pissing me off.

1.) My new sofa that I bought during tax free weekend and which was finally delivered just before Halloween. It's very very comfy.  Toby thinks so too.

2.) These pants which are half-price at Athleta. They're having free 2 day shipping on the website right now, which is handy if, like me, overly aggressive salespeople have made you appreciate online shopping all the more.  Seriously, though, those are my favorite new workout pants. Just so you know.

3.) I'm on vacation from 11/21 to 12/1, woohoo. Maybe there will be a fitness adventure!


***I also had Ebola. Or possibly a very bad cold. One of the two.

P.S. I saw a couple people online taking a fit at other people joking about their cold/flu/hangover being Ebola. Srsly? It's offensive to Ebola patients to poke fun at oneself by referring to one's admittedly minor ailment as a possibly deadly disease?  I guess I'm going to hell then.